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EU official concerned about Google imagery

Head of the EU's data protection effort predicts problems for Google Street View in Europe, but expects Google can adapt.

Update 10:40 a.m. PDT: I added comment from Google and its confirmation that it has indeed begun photographing European cities.

Google Street View would raise problems if brought to Europe, an official with the European Union's data protection agency said Thursday.

Google Street View now blurs some faces in Manhattan.
Google Street View now blurs some faces in Manhattan. Google

"Making pictures everywhere is certainly going to create some problems," EU Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx said at a news conference to present his annual report, according to a Reuters report.

Hustinx also said he expected Google would be able to comply with laws.

"Apparently there is the capacity to adapt this in different modes," he said.

Indeed, to address privacy concerns, Google this week began blurring faces shown in Street View.

Google Street View cars sporting cameras have been spotted driving around Paris, Milan, and Rome, but so far the service to provide a driver's-eye view of the world only has U.S. cities online.

Google confirmed it's begun photographing European areas to expand Street View, but said the service will be legal.

"We will not launch in Europe until we are confident that Street View complies with local law, including law relating to the display of images of individuals," the company said. "We'll use technology like automated face-blurring and operational controls such as image removal tools so Street View remains useful and in keeping with local laws and norms wherever it is available."